Designing the Fairy Godmother for the Fantasy Genre (I)

Designing the Fairy Godmother for the Fantasy Genre

The fairy godmother is one of the elements of the tale of Donkey Skin that makes the story a fairy tale; she is the magical being who helps/ influences the main character, at the beginning, an ordinary person. As I discussed in a previous post, fairy tales are about an individual who could very well be any one of us, to whom happens extraordinary things often brought on by magic. This is what turns a story into a fairytale: the presence of magic.

For this new possible adaptation of Donkey Skin, I am investigating and experimenting with different genres and ideas. Overall (be it for a historical, futuristic or fantasy adaptation), I have decided to make one major change which is that of the King’s character. Instead of having him be her father, he could be her step father. This will help the audience feel more comfortable with the absence of the direct notion of incest.

Fairy tale adaptations nowadays are usually a bit darker, perhaps closer to the original tales. This seems to appeal to a larger audience. It is possible however, to keep the film suitable for a younger audience and at the same time, darker and more interesting for an older audience. This is what I am researching in my designs for the fantasy genre.

Comparing films nowadays and that of the thirties, it is clear that there has been an evolution of fantasy creatures. For example, let’s take vampires: we have come a long way from Bela Lugosi’s Dracula in 1931 to the new generations of vampires in films such as Twilight or Underworld. There is also a new film telling the origins of Dracula (Dracula Untold) which will probably be very interesting to compare with the other versions. The same can be observed with werewolves, elves, or even Frankenstein’s monster who seems to be the hero of the new 2014 film I, Frankenstein. Therefore I see no reason why the fairy godmother would have to look like the original fairies we picture when reading fairy tales. I think making her look different would make the adaptation more interesting for a modern audience. However, I still wish to keep her character the magical element it is; I just needed to explore what sorts of equivalents I could come up with so as not to wander too far from the ‘fairy’ but still make her character more original.


Hay.L.V., 2010. Guest Post – Fidelity Criticism: Good Book, Bad Movie… Bad Book? Great Movie. Band2Write. [online blog]. 04th November. Available at: [accessed 2014]


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